The day two of the Open Your Eyes Studio tour began in Litchfield with a visit with artist Suzan Scott. Scott creates beautifully created acrylic paintings that often seem to deconstruct the landscape down to the essential elements. What was wonderful for me was visiting during the same time as the Artwell Gallery founders Michael and Nancy Yurgeles and listening to their discussion with Scott about the artistic process was an enormous treat.
What I found fantastic about this portion of the visit was learning how Scott created so many studies of a particular location before the concept eventually appears on canvas. The thought and care that goes into the consideration of the lighting alone was fascinating. Scott also worked on a project that included 365 days of creating individual pieces of art (small pieces) and through that work she learned just as much as she created.
I look forward to learning more about her work and sharing those insights with the Nutmeg Chatter readers!
Suzan Scott’s work can be found at her website http://www.suzanscott.com/
I continued toward Thomaston and visited my next stop which was at Doreen Breen’s studio where she creates her fabric/fiber works of arts under the heading Soul Threads. Breen’s work has been featured throughout the region especially in Torrington (she was a featured artist at Karen Rossi’s studio and at Performance Hub) and Thomaston and Watertown.
Doreen shared her location with Claudia Duhamel who creates garden art. Before I stepped into Breen’s studio I enjoyed seeing Duhamel’s superb garden art (some made from concrete and others made of iron). The leaf inspired bird baths were one-of-a-kind works of art!
Claudia’s work can be found at http://gardenartbyclaudia.com/
Inside the “Soul Threads” studio space, Breen explained the very special and time consuming process of dyeing the fabric using multiple methods. An interesting factor associated with her work is that she can not “peek” and look at how the material is dyeing/drying she has to wait for the process to be complete.
I discovered that art is a common thread that runs through her family. Breen’s daughter is a fire performer. Her grand daughter, Naiya Gonzalez-Breen, is a visual artist who created this lovely and intricate work as a gift.
The penultimate stop on the tour was close by as Robin McCahill and Karen Rossi were located just a few streets away. Nutmeg Chatter readers know that I love Karen Rossi’s work and I admire what Rossi does to enhance our community. Her particular work with the Torrington Yarn Bomb and the Torrington PAL-activity “Together We are Torrington” are just some of the wonderful events this year that Rossi has worked on and if you haven’t seen “Together We are Torrington” please follow this link to the facebook page to find our more and LIKE it!
Robin McCahill is a puppeteer and felt/fiber artist and I’ve seen and enjoyed her work in Torrington during an Arts Walk and during a gallery event at Karen Rossi’s studio!
During the Open Your Eyes Studio Tour, McCahill and her team worked on felting techniques and I recognized that technique was utilized in the creation of some of the yarn bombing artwork that now decorates our downtown Torrington area.
McCahill teaches at libraries, schools and museums (especially the Mattatuck Museum and the New Britain Museum of Art). She will be participating at an upcoming event for the Flanders Faerie Festival in July so I’ll be writing more about McCahill’s work next month.
McCahill’s work can be found on her website at http://www.intuit2arts.com/
I finished the tour at the Thomaston Opera House where the Crescent Gallery hosts the Ten-2-One Artist group. The event was closing when I arrived but the work I saw was exceptional (I enjoyed talking with Pat Piscopo who worked with Kate Luurtsema on Brush Up Thomaston Events) and I will make it a point to come to their next show and write an article specifically about their group.
While there at the opera house I did visit with the director Katherine Ray while the cast was rehearsing for the upcoming musical Billy Elliott which will be performed in approximately 2 weeks on the main stage at the Opera House. I’m looking forward to learning more about the production and can’t wait to share all the news with the Nutmeg Chatter readers!
As for this Studio Tour, each of the artists whom I’ve met have stories to tell about their art, about their process and how art inspires their lives. I hope there will be more opportunities in the future for Nutmeg Chatter to be able to share those individual stories so don’t be surprised if you see these names come up in future stories/interviews!
Now that the Tour has ended for the year, here’s the take away from the wonderful Open Your Eyes Studio Tour. There are extraordinary artists in all mediums within our community and to a person they are generous with their time and talent in the service to creating a positive environment where we all live. The talent that I see is at a professional level and I wonder if in the decades to come whether we will find that there is a value in having a specific northwest Connecticut arts MUSEUM that may accompany or encompass the vision of a gallery that preserves representations of these works of art.
For those who may not be artists but who may have discovered this post (or it’s companion post about day one) or for anyone who may have missed the tour, I would just note that if this interests you, contact the Northwest Connecticut arts council and sign up for their newsletter. Don’t wait until next year to get involved because there’s going to be some amazing events coming up after this one where you can discover art and the artists behind the work. Follow the arts council and learn more!
For the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council who created this tour and worked it (thank you especially to Amy Wynn, Margaret Cady, Debbie Freund),they have completed their entire region’s Open Your Eyes Studio Tours. The northwest Connecticut area was broken down into seven regions in total and now there have been seven years of the tours). The Council will now be looking for feedback from guests and artists alike as to what worked, what could be improved upon and what are other take-aways that can be gained from the endeavor.
As a former participant in the Torrington tour (THANK YOU SHARON DANTE AND THE NUTMEG BALLET CONSERVATORY!) I enjoyed the opportunity to visit with the public and discuss the art I was creating. The tour has value from a tourism standpoint (many of my visitors came from other states or other parts of the region) and from a cultural-awareness standpoint (rediscovering our community in a new way through the eyes of artists who reside and work here).
I hope if you have thoughts and suggestions or even comments that say “Well done!” send them to the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council at their website http://www.openyoureyestour.org/